P.M. condemns “beautiful tribute” comments

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi has condemned how a District Court Judge described two motorists use of their vehicles to farewell a car crash victim as a “beautiful tribute”.

Speaking during his weekly press conference, the Prime Minister and Police Minister described the drivers as “show offs”, and said he has instructed the Attorney General’s Office to toughen the current traffic laws to ban car racing on roads.

“And so whoever wants to race, they can race in front of their house but not on the main road, where many drivers and pedestrians are passing by. 

“These people drive and burn out their vehicle tyres on the main road and when the tyres are burning out, such show offs it’s like what you see in the movies,” he said.

Tuilaepa said the Judge lacked foresight in her ruling and asked if she thought about the impact of the two motorists’ actions. 

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“What if that car crashes into an electrical pole; this will shut down the power; this judge is not thinking of the impact. 

“And by the time the power is back on and the pole is fixed the government has already spent thousands, due to the actions by these show off millionaires,” said Tuilaepa. 

The Prime Minister said the police must uphold the law to protect the citizens of Samoa on the road. 

“I’ve been consistently ordering the police to look out for these car racers and charge them under the law for dangerous driving as it is illegal under the law. 

“And that is why it is important for the judges to give reasonable rulings but not stupid rulings, I mean stupid comments,” said the Prime Minister. 

Early in the week District Court Judge Alalatoa Rosella presided over a case involving Orlando Keil and Scott Levi, who were both charged with reckless driving, with the latter also accused of driving an unregistered vehicle. The case was connected to a July 31, 2018 funeral procession, where the two motorists’ screeched their vehicle tyres out of respect for a boy who died in a car crash.

Appearing before the Court early in the week, the Judge said she did not see anything wrong with their actions and questioned how it amounted to reckless driving. She subsequently discharged the two accused of the reckless driving charges while Orlando Keil had to pay a $200 fine for driving an unregistered vehicle.

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